Putting cheese and crackers out at a party, even if it is sliced sharp cheddar and also Triscuits or Humboldt Fog and crostini, is a simple way to welcome guests. Everyone loves cheese, and people will snack ~ above it all night. However if hrs go by and also there’s still half a wedge that Brie on the cheese board, are you putting your friends in danger? In other words: exactly how long deserve to cheese sit out prior to you acquire sick...or die?

Bringing cheese to room temperature is essential to assist the fat loosen up, which provides the cheese a better texture and flavor. However, there is a ticking clock on just how long it should stay out previous that hour (or two) the end of the fridge. To save yourself safe from bacterial development or spoilage, girlfriend should just keep cheese out for four hours, follow to Adam Brock, director of food safety, quality, and regulatory compliance in ~ Dairy farmers of Wisconsin.

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With the said, part cheeses fare much better than rather with high quality after those four hours elapse. Greater moisture cheeses prefer ricotta, queso blanco, and also mascarpone will damage in quality and spoil faster when left top top the counter. Soft cheeses—including Brie, Camembert, or a bloomy-rind fancier cheese favor Jasper Hill’s Harbison—will critical a little longer, and also harder cheeses from cheddar to Gouda to Parmesan will organize up the longest. “Parm, Romano, or harder cheeses will likely not have actually microbacterium growth, or really insignificant amounts throughout the duration of a party,” Brock adds. Those cheeses you’ll regularly see hanging in Italian sectors or cut into pieces on display screen at the grocery store store since they don’t require consistent refrigeration.

Long before you gain an uncomfortable stomach from cheese (uh, unless you’re lactose intolerant), you’ll probably an alert that that looking a little…sad. Cheese will dry out once left in open air, specifically in a warmer room, and also start to look crusty and also crumbly. “After eight hours on a cheese board, cheddar will likely not have actually a most bacterial growth, however it won’t look appealing to eat,” Brock explains. However, over there is no way to tell if yes sir bacteria ~ above a item of cheese based upon looking due to the fact that it’s microscopic. One thing you have the right to tell immediately about a cheese gone poor is if yes mold cultivation on the in the fridge. If you check out that, cut off about 1–1½ inches about the mold and also continue eating it. However, if a high-moisture cheese like ricotta or cream cheese has actually a clues of mold, throw it out—it will have contaminated the entire container.


See this beautiful oozy wheel of Harbison? don’t let that sit out for much more than four hours!

Photo by Alex Lau

There has actually been some substantial research excellent in Wisconsin the proves cheese have the right to stay the end for as much as six hrs at 70°F or colder. Some cheeses experiment for low levels the listeria, salmonella, Escherichia, and also staphylococcus but nothing life-threatening.* Marianne Smukowski—a safety and quality applications coordinator in ~ the Wisconsin center for Dairy research who assisted conduct this study—explains that the level of water activity in a cheese determines just how long it can stay out. Hard cheeses choose Parmesan can be out for 24 hours and also be fine, yet a young cheddar is an ext vulnerable. “You will watch oiling off and drying the end from that sitting out in open air,” Smukowski explains. If that starts come look favor it’s glistening, it is a authorize to either placed it ago in the refrigerator or toss it.

The TLDR variation of this is: trust yourself. If that looks unappealing, nothing eat it. You most likely won’t gain sick, and also definitely i will not ~ die, however the top quality of cheese have the right to plummet dramatically after an ext than 4 hours at your party. Eat something else, take out a new block the cheese from the fridge, or maybe just serve fondue at your next party. Cheese sweats space always much better than sweaty cheese.

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*Pregnant women, the elderly, or people with dilute immune systems room at higher risk because that food-borne illness and also should take a higher level the caution.